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“Pub” is short for “Public House”. It used to mean a place where anyone could stop in for a pint. Pubs serve food, bars don’t. Also, and this is a small detail, Irish Pubs tend to be named after people (McHale’s, O’Conner’s) where as English Pubs tend to be named a bit more creatively (The Dog and Duck, The King’s Goiter, The Stag and Cock).
That’s the main idea, pubs are bars with a family atmosphere.
A pub is somewhere you should feel comfortable to spend the whole day and even take children during earlier hours. It should be a cosy place, decorated in a friendly and welcoming manner, if a little naff. There should be games available such as pool, darts and a quiz machine. The better ones will even have dominoes, chess and backgammon sets behind the bar. There ought to be a jukebox around with the entire Led Zeppelin discography or at least get the lads to bring their guitars and fiddles and we’ll kick up a tune ourselves.
If you’re there at lunchtime hours expect pies, fish & chips and a half-decent tikka masala to be available, if your in during later hours than you’ll have to make do with crisps, pickled onions and Scotch eggs. If you’re good mates with the landlord, however, he may be willing to make you a sandwich when you’re absolutely tanked at 1.30 am.
If the pub takes even the least amount of pride in what they do there will be a good choice of real ales such as Hobgoblin and Old Tom served at cellar temperature as these actually taste of something unlike near-frozen mass-produced lagers. The good ol’ water-of-life should be in abundance be it Irish, Scotch, Bourbon or otherwise. In short, a pub is the very focal point of civilised society.
A bar, on the other hand, is a truly dreadful place. Tastelessly decked out in chrome, pine and mood-lighting, this hell-hole is full of wankers from the City getting shitfaced on shite like Bud and Kronenburg whilst listening to god-awful repetitive pop music at near deafing volumes.
Englishman here. I don’t think there is an official definition.
The bar is the actual place where the drinks are served. All pubs have at least one bar in them.
You can put a bar anywhere, for example in a restaurant or cinema.
Most if not all of our pubs have been pubs for a very long time, i.e. they were at one point a proper old Public House and there is still a drinking establishment in that building to this day.
New drinking establishments which spring up tend to get called bars because they ain’t in a building that has previously been a pub.
So all pubs are bars, but not all bars are pubs is pretty much spot on.
In Scotland a pub is anywhere that sells alcohol that isn’t a restaurant or nightclub. However, the term ‘bar’ is also used. There are no rules, but ‘bar’ is generally used to describe a new/shiny/posh ‘pub’ (with no guarantee of a seat!) usually in towns and cities, not country places.
Pubs are usually quieter and more comfortable places to drink, (in cities or villages) but i don’t think you would be be corrected for calling a bar a pub, or vice versa. Pubs sometimes have a separate bar and lounge area, traditionally men stand at the bar and drink, and women and couples sit in the lounge and drink – you still find this in some local pubs.
However, pub is the most commonly used term to describe any form of meeting mates and going to the pub for a few, regardless of what establishment you are going to.
There is little difference today but in 1830 a law passed which allowed anyone who paid for a license to sell beer and cider from their home, making their home a public house.
Just FYI when you say the place you go is a “free house” this means it isn’t owned by a brewery. If you were to visit the UK in London you might go to a Fuller’s pub, in Manchester a Hyde’s pub Birmingham a Mitchell and Butler’s. But all over the country you’ll find Wetherspoons Free Houses which serve beers from various brewerys depending on their current contracts.
I think the best description I’ve heard is that a pub is “The neighborhood’s living room”.
pubs in my home-town generally have an open fire. nothing better than stepping out of the rain to be welcomed by the sound and warmth of roasting hearth and a pint of cider.
It’s like what the one dude said about porn. I can’t specifically describe what a pub “is” but I know one when I enter one.
In the US a pub is a bar that someone decided to call a pub because they went with an Irish/English theme.
If you ask for a cocktail in a proper pub, you will be spat upon.
For me, you can feel the difference in a pub and a bar.
To me, a pub is an inviting place. Very warm. Very friendly. Great cheerful atmosphere.
A bar CAN be warm and inviting. but it doesn’t have to be.
Also from that AMA: Pubs are an English tradition. It’s not that other cultures do not have something vaguely similar, it’s just that they come from a history unique to Britain. In the US, it’s essentially just a branding idea. Pubs and bars are, for the most part, interchangeable (YMMV based on individual States). For example: in Indiana, where I currently live, all bars must be able to provide food. Even if they have no intention of offering it to guests. One of my favorite places in Indianapolis (White Rabbit Cabaret) has a stockpile of 5 year old Hot Pockets and boxes of Cheerios in the back room that will never get eaten. This is because the law in Indiana says you cannot sell alcohol exclusively — you must be able to also serve patrons food.
A good pub has levels. Small rooms, open areas, multiple bars, upper areas, discreet nooks and crannies. Even modulating the elevation by a single step can make a world of difference in look and feel.
Pub is short for Public House, it’s where you would get your food and your drink.
A Bar is just a bar, it’s just for drinks, sometimes some nuts.
Lounges are often times watered down pubs as in they have food, but not usually full meals, just appetizers and what not.
Already answered in depth above but the TL;DR I like the most re: Pubs is that a good one should function as a neighborhood living room.
Read a book, have a beer, enjoy a good conversation without having to scram over Pitbull & Lorde.